What is prayer?

What is Prayer

Photo by JP Davidson

We can find lots of examples of prayer in the Bible, both in the New Testament and the Old Testament. People prayed to God in various situations – when their life was in danger or even as they gave joyful praise and worshipped the Lord.

In the famous Sermon on the Mount, Jesus gave very clear and important instructions to the people. This included specific instructions regarding prayer – do not be a hypocrite, pray in secret and not for the eyes of men, and do not use vain repetitions (Matthew 6:6-7).

So prayer is not a repetition of some specific phrases or words learned by heart. It is not some kind of spell (magic words), that can force God to start listening to you. We know from the Bible that man prays in his own words, he praises God in his own words, he brings his worries and burdens to the Lord in his own words, and he confesses his sins to God using his own words.

And after that Jesus told us how we should pray – the “Our Father” prayer. We can learn many things from this prayer – we can see how much weight and importance Jesus gave to worship, requests, repentance and thanksgiving. He provided a model for prayer – one that honours God and recognises that He is our provider and protector.

So prayer is quite simply spending time with our Father in heaven, speaking to Him, letting our requests known unto Him (Philippians 4:6) and listening to His will. He longs to have fellowship with us and prayer is the means of fellowshipping with Him and strengthening our relationship with Him.